Ranko Damjanovic (Beograd, 1971)
"Ranko Damjanovic is a poet who works in silence, away from the public scene. He marked the time in which he lives as the time of “nonexistence”, branded by the war in the ex-Yugolsav states. In his early poem entitled “Awakening” (1993), he talks about the apes on the masts, flags in the gutters, and the speaker” raising his hands as if not belonging to the nation. Each finger carrying a noose for each of us”. After that statement, he kept silence for 12 years.
R.Damjanovih has published several books of poetry, exhibiting unusual talent for playing with words, old and new, intertwining the old meanings still echoing and entwining with the new. Language is not only a poetic tool but also an instrument in “vivisection” of the poet’s mind. In his verse, every word carries more than the face value, not spoken part important as much as the spoken,, even more.
Ranko Damjanovich is a founder and a co-owner of the “Itaka” Publishing House in Belgrade, known for promoting the classics: William Blake, Walt Whitman, Miguel de Cervantes." ~Mira Mataric
Translations of Poems by Ranko Damjanovich :
I gather remains of laughter.
The olive-eyed road points the way
To the boarder with a river.
Silence in the eyes.
Encounters with life as I pass by.
No one stops.
I define past in three layers.
Retreat into my brain.
Falling down makes you realize – you walked.
You start appreciating the height of the sky
And the soothing hues.
Objects reach for me.
Clumsy light peeps.
I stroll through the contours of consciousness.
Yet another dark experience.
Encounters with myself
This solitude frightens me
It’s right in my face.
The walls eavesdrop on one another.
And the mutilated sun’s brother.
The killed and the killer
Both bragged to me.
I am selling fresh metaphors
To the blind sun.
The taste of weariness in my mouth.
The corners awaiting the dawn.
I summon the voices in my head.
There’s no echo.
An illusion of creation.
Silence, you are a tough tenant.
An encounter with a bluff death
Of the released nightmares
Keeps my blood awake.
I forget to breathe.
Placed my bones
Into someone else’s mud.
Devour me, abyss,
So I can bathe in your eye.
tall as a paradox
and still alive.
I wiggle, walk, and curse.
passing by, briefly, I encounter God
nobody recognizes me
as if I were dead
the ones Hitler used for his escape
press upon me
in my own blood I suffocate
I lose consciousness
you are a healthy man”
his eyes are bloody,
red lips a trace of an evil sky,
the world dead and spiteful,
waiting to be conquered
Silence of the extinguished light
objects without colors
as they truly are
turning in my bed
like a dead man tossing in his grave
the earth rotates a full circle.
I sneak toward the heaven
like a cloud of smoke
lengthy is the journey
to realization you are in the netherworld
and nothing means nothing at all
no countries no borders
Roads or crossroads,
no cracked-open windows.
Emptiness is what you encounter
at each step
like a story without a point.
Loneliness oppresses you so hard
you cannot stand up erect
hauling time on your back
like a convict before his end.
Meanwhile death merely waits
for someone to apologize
for this whole mess.
PLAYING TRICKS ON THE DEVIL
Like a decaying carcass
you drag yourself around.
Playing tricks on the Devil
tired you down.
Took piece of your consciousness.
Now you are praying to God
to fully restore your mind.
At the same place, between waters
The bored sea yawns at me, the Ignorant one.
Some smart thoughts never lead me, twice
May I be led now by a faraway no-way.-
The wind scribbles across the water
Some senseless images
As if someone would stop
To buy a hat for the draught or naught..
I pocket the sea
hang the sun upon my shoulders.